Time plays such an important role in anything we do. But when we go against the way time works, we add a great deal of stress to our lives.
Time is a gift, but only if we use it. If we don’t and it just goes by, then it doesn’t help us during our healing journey. Time is incredibly powerful when we use it to invest in our future, be it by resting, restoring, or building. Time is also a nonrenewable resource – we can never make more time, we can only invest it wisely.
What is important to remember is that we want time ON OUR SIDE. It’s never too late to start. Take advantage of time’s gifts by taking each present moment as a present to use wisely. Focus on the tiniest step with 100% of your headspace, doing the best you can. No more, no less. Time is on our side when we are flowing rather than fighting with ourselves.
Changing our parenting (or anything form of Doing the Work) requires conscious effort, focused attention, deliberate learning, regular practice, and forgiveness of inevitable mistakes.
Using models describing the development of competency and teams, we can see that time is a powerful ally if we go through the stages thoughtfully and with intention.
You’ve got this!
Four Stages of Competency1
Unconscious incompetence: We don’t see that how we are parenting is not working.
Conscious incompetence: We can see that how we are parenting is not getting us the results we are seeking, but we don’t know how to change yet. So we learn and find like-minded people, mentors further along in developing their skills, and experts.
Conscious competence: We can practice what we have learned, applying what we are learning and adjusting things to fit our own specific circumstances.
Unconscious competence: Just like biking, swimming, cooking or knitting (or whatever skills you have spent time mastering), parenting the way we want to slowly becomes an unconscious skill we just do the way we want.
But it all takes time!
Four Stages of Team Development2
When we change our parenting approach, it’s like the family is developing a whole new team! It takes time to develop trust in the relationships and stages to get to a place where things can run smoothly.
Forming: This is where change happens and a everyone is getting ready to figure out what that means for them. It’s a good time to develop strong communications about the goals and the why behind the goals. This is also when people are developing or evolving boundaries.
Storming: This stage can be very confusing as people bump up against each other, trying to figure out if boundaries have been breached, whether the rules are working, or if everyone should just give up. It’s when everyone is learning about each other.
Norming: As people get to know each other and figure out how to deal with differing opinions, protocol and rules are practiced and get normalized. At this stage, people start to see results and get comfortable.
Performing: This stage is where we want to be. But it’s important to realize that we never really get to stay at this stage forever. There’s always something new that throws off the equilibrium and sends the team back to the storming stage. It’s also important for us not to get too comfortable, preferring this safe peaceful stage and giving up our right to disagree!
I hope that these two models help you think about how to use the gift of time to help you along your journey.
Ultimately, stages take as long as they take. When we try to take short cuts or when we want to go faster than we are developing, we will experience greater overwhelm and stress. But if we take our time and invest our gift of time wisely at each stage, we will make progress that is more sustainable. You will see progress and you will feel more in control.
Get help if you are feeling overwhelmed and need help relooking at how to invest your time intentionally and in alignment with your goals, values, circumstances, and resources.
1 Broadwell, Martin M. (20 February 1969). “Teaching for learning (XVI)”.
2 Tuckman, Bruce (1965). “Developmental sequence in small groups”. Psychological Bulletin. 63 (6): 384–99.